05 June, 2014

Day 9

We ate breakfast at our B&B again, then packed our bags and headed out. We drove north to Talbert where we took a short car ferry across the Shannon River and into County Clare. From there, we drove to a little town where we ate lunch at a busy pub. The waitress asked our plans for the day and we told her we were going to visit the Cliffs of Moher. She suggested we drive in the opposite direction to a set of cliffs that are just as beautiful, but completely unvisited. So we did just that. We drove west on tiny roads through what seemed like endless farmland until we reached the sea. We drove around a little bend and suddenly all said "wow..." in unison. The view was breathtaking. The road looked out over cliffsides in both directions, jagged rocks below, a large cliffy island ahead, and lush green fields behind. The entire scene was freckled with tiny pink wildflowers. So Kevin pulled the car over and we all got out. Kevin took off, climbing down the rocks toward the sea. I followed him about halfway and found a ledge to sit on. Like everywhere we've been in Ireland, it was extremely windy, but the sun was shining and the view was so beautiful it didn't matter. We stayed there awhile, climbing and exploring and taking photos, then resumed our journey to the Cliffs of Moher.

The famous cliffs were spectacular, rising 700 feet from the ocean. They're the same ones used as "the cliffs of insanity" in The Princess Bride. People come from all over the world to see them and the area was full of tourists. But the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the icy wind numbed my hands. I took a few photos, then found refuge and coffee in the visitor center before heading back on the road. I'm glad we visited them, but was also happy to have had our own stunning private cliff experience. 

From there, we headed to Galway, by way of "The Burren," meaning "great rock." This region of County Clare is one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe. The barren limestone landscape seemed surreal, especially after driving through endless fields of green.

We finally made it to Galway. Its one of Ireland's largest cities, with a picturesque town center full of little shops and restaurants. For dinner, we snuggled into The Pie Maker, a tiny restaurant just big enough to squeeze in three tables. It had a cozy, quirky decor with a copper ceiling, a tea kettle chandelier, a giant old world map, little nicknacks everywhere, and one wall completely covered with rulers. We each ate our own mini pie; mine was chicken curry. For dessert, Kevin and I split a mini apple pie and a mini banoffee pie, a delicious treat that I've missed since my semester in London. This was definitely my favorite meal of the trip so far.

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